No one knows what the future will hold but one thing we can be sure is that if you have funds available you maximise your options. Financial planning is often boring and something we put off but put it off too late and you will find yourself being forced into a course of action that perhaps isn’t what you would have wanted. And with the cost of a week of care being several hundreds of pounds it isn’t an expense you can leave to chance if you want any say in how your care is provided.
Never too early to start
In fact, the best time to start planning for the future, and you care in old age, is whilst you are young and earning an income. Choosing to pay money into a pension fund, or even simply storing it up in a savings account, means that you will have some sort of income when you retire and no longer work. Pensions are usually the preferred way of saving for retirement due to the special tax treatment they attract but speak to an independent financial advisor before committing to any course of action.
What will I need it for?
In the first place you will need to provide an income for yourself as the state pension is fairly basic, secondly, you will need money available for healthcare and personal care as you age. Of course, you can’t predict exactly how much you will need to save – you don’t know how ill you might become or for how long you will need personal care – but knowing what the options are now will allow you to plan to have a choice when the future becomes clearer.
At some point, you will need to start paying for help in your daily life. At first, this may involve help with gardening or cleaning. But once you can no longer care for yourself you will need to look at different care options.
• Retirement flats or sheltered accommodation provides elderly-friendly housing with wardens on hand to assist you and check on you. There may also be activities and meals arranged communally.
• Care homes are the type of elderly care most people think of initially. They vary in quality from basic accommodation to luxurious complexes with social activities, day trips and even swimming pools.
• Nursing homes are similar to care homes but provide actual nursing care for patients who require it. They are sometimes combined with care homes and the cost can be very high if lots of nursing care is needed.
• Live in care provides a carer who lives in your home and assists you in daily life. You do not need to move, and you will be able to remain living with your spouse, companions and pets for as long as you wish. Although it sounds like five-star platinum service it may not actually be any more expensive than a good care home.